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Best case/worst case: Glenn Robinson III

Robinson will start for the Warriors tonight. How will that go?

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

With the NBA season starting this week, we’re running through mini previews of the Golden State Warriors’ 16 players, focusing on what their best and worst case scenario is for the upcoming year. Next up is starting small forward Glenn Robinson III. You can check out the other best case/worst case articles below:

Ky Bowman
Alec Burks
Willie Cauley-Stein
Marquese Chriss
Stephen Curry
Jacob Evans III
Draymond Green
Damion Lee
Kevon Looney
Eric Paschall
Jordan Poole

Preseason stats

4 games, 8.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game

50.0% 2FG, 50.0% 3FG, 100% FT, 63.0% true-shooting

2018-19 stats (Pistons)

47 games, 4.2 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 0.4 assists per game

49.1% 2FG, 29.0% 3FG, 80.0% FT, 51.1% true-shooting

Role on the 2019-20 Warriors

Glenn Robinson III’s role on the Warriors is pretty small and easy. Replace Kevin Durant. That’s it.

How hard can it be?

Robinson won the very open small forward starting position in training camp, a result that came due to A) an Alec Burks injury, B) Alfonzo McKinnie having a non-guaranteed contract and not being very good, and C) Robinson not doing anything to lose the position.

And now he’ll get to be a starter. His minutes will probably be closer to a sixth or seventh man than a starter, as the team will play with rotations - we’ll see Burks and Jacob Evans III get plenty of run at the 3, and probably a little Jordan Poole and Eric Paschall as well. Robinson is unlikely to play 34 minutes a night; if he has, something either has gone terribly wrong, or tremendously right.

But he’ll be counted on to start, which means defending some of the league’s top players, and functioning in the Warriors retooled offense.

Best case scenario

Robinson was far from electric in the preseason, but he was good. And that’s the best case scenario. He knocked down his open jumpers, which the Warriors absolutely need. The spacing on this team will struggle from time to time, and Robinson being able to make a decent amount of open threes is essential if he wants to have a good year.

He won’t make the 50.0% that he made in the preseason, but a best case scenario puts Robinson in the 37-39% range, which isn’t impossible for a career 36.1% shooting.

While he’s never been a particularly good defensive player, Robinson has all the tools necessary to play quality defense. In the Warriors system - and with Draymond Green holding his hand from time to time - Robinson could develop into the type of perimeter defender that is at least closer to Durant than to McKinnie.

There’s no All-Star bid or 20 point per game year in Robinson’s future, but a very realistic best case scenario is a selfless wing who does a lot of little things, cuts, gets out in transition, makes open shots, and holds his own defensively.

Worst case scenario

All right, buckle up, Warriors fans. Because the worst case scenario is probably more likely than the best case scenario.

Last year, Robinson appeared in only 47 games. Some of those 35 absences were due to injury, but most were due to just not being put on the court. In the 47 games he played, he averaged just 13.0 minutes.

That was on the Detroit Pistons, a 41-win team that gave their wing minutes to Langston Galloway, Luke Kennard, Bruce Brown, Reggie Bullock, and Stanley Johnson. Not exactly an exciting corps to be losing minutes to.

So here’s the reality: Robinson hasn’t been a good player in his five NBA seasons. He’s a sub-par defensive player, and his career 1.4 assists per 36 minutes tell you he’s Yinka Dare-esque as a playmaker. His career true-shooting percentage is 53.1%, which is a bit below Harrison Barnes’ career mark, for reference.

Long, grim, story short: Robinson doesn’t have a history of being above average in any area of the game. The worst case scenario, then, is that nothing changes.

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